When one Husky howls, the others join in. I know this now as the ski lifts I’m using at Mount Baw Baw are right next to the Husky enclosure.
It starts with one song-like holler. Then a second Husky chimes in, then a third. Eventually, you’ve got a husky choir in the making – albeit one that only performs in rounds.
Kids will love the puppies at Mount Baw Baw. Credit: Evan Dickson
My daughter, 2, has been to visit the Huskies twice today. I know she won’t tire of it – we’ll be seeing the energetic critters again in a couple of hours. We’ll probably also go back tomorrow and the day after that.
Mt Baw Baw is about two hours drive from Melbourne and it’s great for kids who are just starting snow play or learning to ski.
Here are seven things to do at Mount Baw Baw with toddlers.
1. Visit the Mt Baw Baw huskies
Huskies at Mount Baw Baw. Credit: Evan Dickson
At any given time at Mt Baw Baw Alpine Resort there are between 25 and 35 huskies (managed by private operator Howling Huskys) for guests to get to know. You can meet and greet them, enjoy a husky sled ride or simply hang out nearby watching them go about their daily business. There’s an on-piste casual eatery located right next to them, so when I do take a break from skiing I enjoy my chai latte while watching the playful canines
2. Get to know the dingoes
In late 2017, Mount Baw Bay introduced two dingoes to the resort in partnership with Dingo Discovery Sanctuary and Research Centre. Kids can meet an alpine dingo named Warragul and an alpine-desert dingo cross named Rowdy at the NUTRO Dingo Resource Centre. The centre plans to initiate a breeding program soon too to help alpine dingo numbers grow (the species is near endangered).
Mount Baw Baw dingoes. Credit: Evan Dickson
For our daughter, Ariana, this is a dream holiday. When we go on a personal dingo meet-and-greet, she almost can’t contain her excitement, continually patting Warragul and shadowing him very closely while he explores on a lead led by a staff member.
3. Toboggan fun
On day two, we hire a toboggan and join other families rocketing down the toboggan-only hill. Our first go is a success – I plop Ariana in the front of the toboggan, jump in behind her, and then we hurtle down the hill, passing kids left, right and luckily not centre. So much fun!
4. Snow-shoe tours
Snow-shoe tours with Powder Pups (retired huskies) is a great family activity, but one we will have to save for our next visit. You get geared up with snowshoes and a harness, then the senior sled dogs take you on a walk along their favourite trails.
5. Skiing and snowboarding
It would be crazy not to mention the skiing and snowboarding. Ariana was just that tiny little bit too young to try either sport, but she might well be ready towards the end of the season. Kids under 6 are well looked after, with free first-try lessons to ski and snowboard.My husband Evan and I booked a babysitter and had the best time skiing down the mainly beginner and intermediate runs, using T-bar and poma lifts.
6. Japanese snowball-throwing
For something a little bit different, Japanese snowball-throwing is a ton of fun. I watch a few teens get involved in the latter (properly known as yukigassen) and conclude it’s a bit like laser tag but with snowballs. Next time…
Getting to Mt Baw Baw
Mt Baw Baw is located two-and-a-half hours’ drive from Melbourne, so it’s good for kids who get easily bored in the car. We left late on Friday afternoon and only stopped once at Drouin Family Hotel. It’s a small detour, but well worth it. The playroom here – the biggest we’ve seen in a pub – is kitted out with jumping castles, climbing equipment and gaming consoles.
On the way back we took our time, opting for a meandering drive along Mt Baw Baw Tourist Road before stopping at Noojee for lunch and a visit to Noojee Trestle Bridge. We took it slow, jumping out of our Holden Equinox to snap photos of snow-drenched trees sparkling in the sunlight, stopping to admire Highland cattle in meadows, and just taking it easy all-round to soak up the surrounds.
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When you travel every day is different! You get to experience different cultures, meet new people, get lost, find cool laneway bars, try weird and delicious foods, snorkel with sea lions, fly over mountains carpeted in grass, laze about in hammocks immersed in Windex-blue water, horse ride alongside gauchos, call sleeper trains, igloos and yurts home for a night, cycle past giraffes, dance with Masai warriors, play with local school children.